RT is the focus of much public debate - about its content mostly. But what about its reach? That is, how many people the US watch RT programs regularly (over all media - TV, the RT website, YouTube, etc.)?

Also, my personal impression is that some shows have a more pro-Russian-outlook line, mostly anchored by actual Slav/Russian people, or people living in Russia (e.g. Worlds Apart, Crosstalk), while others are "shows progressive/left-wingers in the US would like" which focus on US social issues and seem to be constrained to just not talk about Russian internal/close-regional affairs (e.g. Redacted Tonight, Watching the Hawks), and the same for the UK (Going Underground, Sputnik-the-show). ... is there information regarding the viewership of the second kind of shows as opposed to the first kind?


  • I'm not looking for exact statistics. Any insightful information would make a good answer.
  • If possible, refer to 2016 or later.

2 Answers 2


There is no conclusive data about that from any of the news data keeping bodies in the US (perhaps deliberately) but if we go by its YouTube channel views count only as of 28 Jan 2018 12:40 IST, total views on its channel are 2,217,478,606. And all the content on this channel is in English and by that we can roughly guess that much of the views are coming from the United States. Also according to one answer on Quora RT's weekly audience in US is 8 million.

So as I said in the beginning there is no conclusive figure but from the above figures we can roughly estimate that about 10 million people in the US are watching RT as more and more people want to hear other alternatives which is not controlled by the US media outlets.

  • 1
    When you look at the actual view numbers of the videos they posted on youtube, most have about 5k-20k views, with about once a week one going above 100k. Claiming that their channel is actually watched by millions of people is ridiculous. They might have 2.3 million subscribers, but 99% of these subscribers don't seem to be actually watching anything. If you compare that to CNN's youtube channel: They have about the same number of subscribers, but far more views per video. They beat the 100k barrier daily.
    – Philipp
    Jan 28, 2018 at 11:33
  • @Philipp: You can't be more wrong than that. RT has about 201 videos on that channel as of today and there is not even a single video on which views are less than a million. If only you bothered to do some research instead of spreading misinformation. Check this out: youtube.com/user/RussiaToday/… Even the video with least number of views has 1,342,834 views and also you don't have to be a subscriber to see their videos and video with highest number of views has more than 42 million views which is more than the most viewed video on your favourite CNN.
    – Rolen Koh
    Jan 28, 2018 at 15:34
  • You are looking at the most popular videos of all time. I was looking at the videos posted in the past weeks. Switch the sorting to "Date added (newest)" and you get a more representative view of their current reach. Also CNN is not "my favorite". I don't even watch it regularly. I used it as an example of a typical mainstream news channel for comparison.
    – Philipp
    Jan 28, 2018 at 19:04
  • @Philipp: CNN is also mostly watched by Americans naturally. Same goes for RT. Since the channel has all content in English and US being the largest English speaking nation with very high internet penetration we can safely assume that most views are from the US and remaining mostly from UK and Canada. And regardless of all that RT and CNN both have similar number of total views and views on each video is also more or less the same.
    – Rolen Koh
    Jan 29, 2018 at 4:33
  • How can you guess, using the overall international number of views, how many are from the US? And that Quora answer is not very well sourced. A figure of 10 Million sounds unreasonable, as the average daily viewership of networks such as Fox, CNN and MSNBC is on the order of magnitude of 1 Million (see e.g. this story). Even if divided your figure by 7 to go from weekly to daily, it's still rather incredible for RT to have the same numbers as the mainstream networks.
    – einpoklum
    Jan 29, 2018 at 20:14

The authority on American TV ratings is Nielsen, and RT isn't Nielsen rated.

Unusually, RT pays TV carriers to offer the channel (source).

Anyway, RT's main outreach platforms are YouTube and social networks.

  • 2
    Ok, but this doesn't answer my question.
    – einpoklum
    Jan 19, 2018 at 18:49
  • Sure it does. It says any answer you get will be conjecture.
    – CGCampbell
    Jan 19, 2018 at 19:24
  • Are you sure that Nielsen ratings are literally the only way to measure the reach of a TV channel? The second sentence doesn't seem to be relevant to the question. The third sentence might be the start of a relevant answer because YouTube and most social network sites provide information which allow to estimate the reach of an account. You would just have to invest the work and look up the numbers (those numbers might be inflated with fake-accounts, but they at least provide an upper bound).
    – Philipp
    Jan 20, 2018 at 0:10

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